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Spotlight on Export opportunities as Global Trade representatives visit the Eastern Cape

12 September 2022

Numerous foreign country trade representatives will engage with Eastern Cape exporters as the province aims to accelerate exports by taking advantage of global trade developments.

Trade emissaries from the European Union, Ghana, Ethiopia, Republic of Cote d’ Voire, Kenya and Rwanda among other will be in the Eastern Cape promoting trade opportunities and sharing their trade policies and products with exporters in of South Africa. While the Eastern Cape province leads South Africa’s exports in areas such as light vehicles, mohair, wool, citrus and certain agricultural produce, it has yet to reach its full export potential. “The Eastern Cape Export Symposium and Exhibition, to be physically and virtually held on September 14 to 15 at the East London ICC, will be instrumental in “lifting the lid” on the region’s export ambition”. says ECDC Acting Executive Manager for Trade, Investment & Innovation, Mr Phakamisa George.

In addition to global trade emissaries, the conference speaker line-up includes trade policy and export experts, as well as CEOs of the region’s most prolific and innovative exporters. These include the General Manager for Wool & Mohair South Africa, Mr Marco Coetzee; Mr Hein Potgieter, San Miguel Supply Chain Manager in SA and Dr. Juanita Maree, Chairperson South Africa Association of Freight Forwarders.

Logistical efficiencies, plans to accelerate export related infrastructure upgrades and special economic zone opportunities will be addressed by, among others. Mr Siyabulela Mhlaluka, Managing Executive: Central Region Transnet National Ports Authority; Ms. Ayanda Rancwana of East London Industrial Development Zone and Ms. Asanda Xawuka Business Development Executive Manager, Coega Development Corporation.

The province’s agricultural export potential and opportunities will be unpacked by, among others, Mr Wandile Sihlobo Chief Economist, Agriculture Business Chamber of South Africa; Chief Executive Officer of Citrus Growers Association, Mr Justin Chadwick; and Ms Siphokazi Ndudane, Head of Department Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform. Mr Alistair Mcmaster, Senior Manager Renewable Energy at the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and Ms Chiboni Evans of South Africa Electrotechnical Export Council will address delegates on opportunities for export of supplies for the burgeoning renewable energy and electro technical sector.

Other national speakers sharing on tools and resources available to exporters include Mr Francois Fouche, Executive Director Growth Diagnostics; Mr. Nico Smit of DG Capital Customs Specialist; Mr. Fana Marivate from Bankable Models; and Mr Quinten Levey Chairman of Eastern Cape Exporters. The opportunity, updates and mechanics of the African Collective Free Trade Agreement (AFcFTA) will be presented by Ms Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director of Tralac Law Centre and Mr Nyameko Goso, Chief Director for Department of International Relations and Cooperation. Dr. Clive Vinti of XA International Trade Advisors will speak to localisation: The place of policy in South African Law.

Under the theme “International trade – a lever for economic recovery”, the symposium is timed amid numerous trade developments and supply chain disruptions which have shifted traditional trade world-wide. A case in point is the African Free Trade Agreement and its incentives for intra-African trade. “That intra-African trade constitutes only 16% of total trade in Africa. This is alarming but also points to the scale of the opportunity. A plethora of resources from funding and market-access opportunities to policy incentives will be shared with prospective and existing exporters as a means to not only broaden the base of exporters but grow existing exports’’, said Mr Ayanda Wakaba, the Chief Executive of the host organisation, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation.

Match-making sessions will be hosted concurrently with other trade promotion activities, linking exporters to buying agents and country representatives.

George says the Eastern Cape seeks to extend its markets for both existing and new products in a range of sectors, some of which already demonstrate the quality of produce and efficient global distribution achieved through the region’s committed supply chain. These sectors include, but are not limited to, automotive and agriculture (livestock, mohair, wool, citrus, timber, tea and agri-processing).

The Eastern Cape is the country’s biggest lemon producer, exporting more lemons than the US, Brazil, Egypt or Italy and also exports more than half of light vehicles produced in South Africa. According to data released by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), the Eastern Cape has the largest percentage of the country’s livestock – 38% of SA goats, 30% of SA sheep and 25% of SA cattle. It produces more than 15-million kilograms of wool a year and supplies more than half of the world’s mohair. The province is also home to 16% of the country’s milk producers, which account for 26% of the milk produced in South Africa.

There is massive opportunity for growth of exports across numerous sectors, says George. “From agriculture to technology, the Eastern Cape has already demonstrated its capability.” George also points out that East London remains the only South African port to export live animals in South Africa, and the province is keen to increase exports of this nature. While the province has also started investing in cannabis production as a breakthrough commodity in the commercial space, the EC awash with factor endowment, is working on to establishing its position in this emerging industry.

While the symposium, exhibition, match-making meetings and site tours will foster interest from international buyers for locally produced goods, a key aspect of the conference, says George, is to inject energy into the vision and plans of local export facilitators, including port operators, to optimise processes that enable export growth.

“When logistics infrastructure works according to our plans, ports and container terminals will have higher capacity and productivity, more shipping lines will be inclined to stop at our ports, freight costs will be reduced, and the result will be evident in export growth,” concluded George.

The conference aspect of the symposium will be run over two days both physically and through live-streamed. The overview if the symposium is as follows:


Numerous stakeholders play a role in optimising exports from the region. This will session provide these role-players, exporters, partners and potential investors with a comprehensive and complete, multi-disciplinary view of the trends, new developments, opportunities, strengths and improvement areas that define and drive the export ambition.


Prospective and existing exporters require up to date information on available support services, resources and policy movements that promote export growth. Fresh among these is the African Collective Free Trade Area. Geopolitical changes caused by global power shifts, the unprecedented global pandemic and the African Continental Free Trade Area are some of the topics to be considered. The discussions on the symposium will look at how the Eastern Cape and businesses within the province can capitalise on these changes for ensuring sustainable economic recovery.

The exhibition will be hosted physically only, and the symposium will allow for physical and online participation on:

· Date: 14 and 15 September 2022

· Time: 09h00

· Venue in-contact: East London International Convention Centre (ICC)

· Registration is required at


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